Ever since Mohamed Salah joined Liverpool in 2017, Liverpool’s front three have been feared by everyone in the league.
The electric pace of Salah and Sadio Mane combined with the pressing and technical ability of Roberto Firmino has left Premier League defenses shaking in fear for the best part of four years now.
However, like all good things the famous front three must eventually come to an end, and now might be the perfect time to split them up.
Why is now the time?
At the moment, the attack at is not firing on all cylinders.
Despite winning the title last season, it represented the worst minutes per goal average that the front three has managed since they were formed, at 188 minutes per goal.
At their peak in 2017/18 they were scoring every 139 minutes, which made them the second best front three the league has ever seen, behind only Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo for Manchester United in 2007/08.
The reason behind the decrease could be the amount of time they have spent together.
Mane, Salah and Firmino are in their fourth season, which may not seem like a long time but most front lines only last two or three seasons at most.
It could well be that defenses have figured them out and are finding it easier to defend against but regardless of the issue Liverpool need them to start firing soon.
Should they fail to get going again, what needs to change, or more importantly, who needs to change?
Brazilian Firmino has been at the club the longest of them all, joining a Brendan Rodgers lead side back in the summer of 2015.
Firmino did initially struggle to break into the team under Rodgers, but has been a main stay in the side ever since Jurgen Klopp has taken over.
The Brazilian came in as more of a creative midfield option but has had his role changed by Klopp and has looked a natural striker for a few seasons now.
He has never been a natural goal scorer, but that isn’t the role that the former Hoffenheim striker plays.
Firmino is somewhat of a defensive forward, often being described as false nine rather than a tradition striker.
He contributes a lot in the press, completing 6.5 successful pressures per 90 last season as well as 1.1 tackles and interceptions.
The forward is almost the ultimate Klopp player, always willing to run and always a consistent performer.
At 29 years-old though, it is unlikely that Firmino can keep these numbers high forever.
It’s likely in a few years Firmino will lose some of his stamina and fitness that is so vital to his game.
Firmino will need to evolve in order to stay at Liverpool, and he could well be the guy to leave in the summer.
Who is the Answer for Liverpool?
One man who could take over from Firmino is RB Salzburg’s Patson Daka.
Daka is a 22 year-old forward, playing in Austria but also has experience in the Champions League.
In the Champions League, Daka puts up very similar pressing numbers as Firmino, completing 4.7 successful pressures per game and 2.1 tackles and interceptions.
He is also more of a goal threat than the Brazilian, scoring 1.3 goals per game in the league this season.
Valued at $20 million on Transfermarkt, Daka could be brought in for a reasonable fee, which most likely could be raised by the sale of Divock Origi.
If he came in next season and learnt off Firmino for a year, Liverpool could have their striker sorted for almost another decade.
Senegalese star Sadio Mane is the first choice on the left of the attack for Liverpool, and is considered by many to be the best of the front three.
Mane was Klopp’s first big signing at Anfield, joining for just over £30 million.
Just like Firmino, Mane is a pressing machine, completing 5 per 90 this season, while also being one of the biggest goal threats in the team.
Mane has scored seven goals and got three assists this season, despite creating nine expected goals.
Despite under performing his expected goals, the fact he creates so many, it shows Mane is always in the positions to chip in.
At 28, Mane is in his prime, so it wouldn’t be the best idea to replace him as a first team regular right away.
However, a good Mane replacement has already been brought in, Portuguese star Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers
Jota was one of three transfers in the summer, brought in with Thiago and Kostas Tsimikas.
Jota scored five goals in nine league appearances for the Reds, before an injury in December left him out injured and he is yet to return.
The winger has already proved himself as a fans favourite and most fans would welcome him into the first team picture with open arms.
The last man on the list is Egyptian king Mohamed Salah.
Salah will almost definetly be the hardest to replace on merseyside, with his goals being vital to the Reds since he arrived in 2017.
Salah has scored over 20 goals in every season he has been at Liverpool, becoming a fan favourite and being key to several stunning moments at Anfield, that stunning curler against Roma comes to mind.
Salah is leading the way in the Premier League to scorer charts this season, scoring 15 goals and getting three assists.
The Eyjyptians could easily be considered the best player in the Premier League and is by many fans of all teams in the league.
At 28, there is no doubt that Salah has many seasons at the top left in him as he shows no sign of slowing down.
However when the time comes for him to move on, the fans will be expecting nothing short of a world-class house hold name.
Fans will be calling for someone like Kylian Mbappe and the Frenchman could be an option for the Reds, with his contract expiring at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Mbappe has been world class for several years now, despite being only 22 years-old.
He has 15 goals and six assists in 19 Ligue 1 games this season, a mental return of over a goal contribution per game.
Mbappe isn’t as good at pressing as Klopp would expect from a member of his front three though, completing less than two pressures per game.
Surely though, with a player of Mbappe’s ability Klopp could shape him into whatever kind of player he would like.
The front three of Liverpool will no doubt go into club history, not just due to all the silverware, but because of what they have achieved together.
Whatever happens to them as the time passes, they will all go into the history books as some of the best the club and the league have ever seen.